Karnad's plays have been translated into English and several Indian languages and directed by directors like Alyque Padamsee, Ebrahim Alkazi, Arvind Gaur, BV Karanth, Zafer Mohiuddin, Satyadev Dubey, Shyamanand Jalan, Amal Allana, Vijaya Mehta and Prasanna. "Tughlaq" and "Hayavadana" are two of his most popular works. In his plays, he combined history and myth to expound upon contemporary issues plaguing the society. According to a report in ANI, a three-day state mourning declared in Karnataka by CM HD Kumaraswamy after the death of veteran actor and playwright Girish Karnad.
Karnad's journey into cinema progressed with him becoming a director, in addition to acting in several Hindi films.
His frequent collaborators, director Shyam Benegal, and actress Shabana Azmi, were both too emotional to talk about the sudden demise of Girish Karnad, but the film fraternity at large was generous in praising not just his talent but his benevolence too. He also worked in Hindi cinema's parallel film movement in movies such as Swami, and Nishant.
The actor is known for playing some memorable characters like Swami's father in Malgudi Days. But in a career spanning six decades, he also featured in a stream of commercial potboilers like Ek Tha Tiger and Tiger Zinda Hai in recent times.
He was the recipient of Padma Shri in 1974 and Padma Bhushan in 1992. For his plays, Karnad won the Sahitya Academy award in 1994 and the Jnanpith award in 1998. He made his directorial debut with Vamsha Vriksha (1971) which won him a National Award for Best Direction. Indian writer Amitav Ghosh took to social media and mourned Karnad's demise. "In his life, he embodied the richness and depth of Indian civilisation more nobly and less self-consciously than anyone else I knew".